Sidor som bilder

3. Holy affections are implied in sanctification. The holiness, which God requires of his people, is of the same nature, as the holiness, which forms the perfection and glory of his own moral character. Therefore, he so often says, “ Be ye holy, for I am holy.” Holiness is the essence and sum of moral goodness and includes the existence and exercise of every proper and virtuous affection,

4. Sanctification implies the proper expression of holy affections in external actions. The Savior says, “ From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things.”

II. It is proposed to show that the people of God are dependent upon him for sanctification.

1. Their dependence upon him for sanctification is evident from the nature of their existence. They are creatures, who have been caused to exist according to the purpose and act of their Creator. And he must have had such a purpose and object in their existence, as he is both able and willing to accomplish. Constant and entire dependence upon their Creator is inseparable from the nature of a created being. In respect to rational creatures their moral character and conduct are the only objects of peculiar importance. They, who become the people of God, are certainly as dependent upon him for holiness as any other subjects of his moral government. From the nature of their existence, there is as much reason to believe, they are as dependent upon God for their moral affections as for their mental powers.

2. Their dependence upon God for holiness is evident from the divine purpose respecting their sanctification. God could not have been indifferent in respect to the moral character and conduct of his people. Their salvation from endless punishment and their eternal happiness and the glory of God and the honor and happiness of the Lord Jesus Christ, in their redemption, are suspended on their repentance and sanctification. Is it, then, possible, that God should have had no purpose in respect to the holiness of their character? To the saints at Ephesus the Apostle writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."

3. That the people of God are dependant upon him for sanctification is plainly taught in the scriptures. By the prophet God says to his people, “ a new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh. And ye shall be my peoI ple and I will be your God.” To the saints at Philippi, the Apostle writes, “ He, that hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

, 4. That the people of God are dependent upon him for sanctification is evident from their experience. They are as sensible of their total native sinfulnes, as they are of their existence. They know too that the most powerful motives and means, the convictions of their own sciences and the most earnest desires to obtain salvation were not effectual to their repentance and conversion. They are sensible of such moral effects in themselves, at their regeneration and in their progressive sanctification, as can be truly ascribed to no other cause, but " the exceeding greatness of the mighty power of God.” And they have, in their own experience, in proportion to their advancement in knowledge and holiness, increasing evidence of their dependence

upon God for every holy affection and action. They can most heartily adopt the words of the Apostle, “ Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

III. It is to be shown, that the people of God are bound by their dependence on him for sanctification, to sanctify themselves.

1. The dependence of human beings upon God for holiness is the only foundation for their sanctification. Holiness in men must be of God, or of themselves. Is it of themselves ? " The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can, So then they, that be in the flesh, cannot please God.” The Lord Jesus Christ said to his hearers,“

ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” They, who become the sons of God are " born, not of blood, nor of the will of


[ocr errors]



the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” If holiness in human beings be not possible with God, it is impossible with man.

If God cannot consistently with his moral government and their free moral agency, sanctify his people, their sanctification is impossible. But it is possible with God. On no other foundation than human dependence upon

God for holiness can he say to any human beings, “ Ye shall be my people and I will be your God."' On no other foundation can he say to his people, “Sanctify yourselves, I am the Lord, who sanctify you." On no other foundation can the Lord Jesus Christ say, “ all, that the Father giveth me, shall come unto me.” On no other foundation could God have formed the

purpose of redemption, or can there be the least reason to hope for the salvation of a single person. But though sanctification is not possible with man, since it is possible with God, it is the duty of sinners to renounce every degree of dependence on themselves and turn to God and receive the offered influence of the Holy Spirit. To sinners God says, “turn ye at my reproof; behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you! I will make known my words unto you.” As their dependence on God for holiness is the only possible foundation of sanctification to his people, in proportion to their dependence upon him is their obligation to him to be holy. Did any person ever feel his obligation to God to be holy, while he was ignorant and insensible of his dependence upon him for sanctification? Did any person ever become holy, without a clear sight and deep sense of his dependence on God for holiness ? Are not the people of God sensible of their obligation to sanctify themselves? and equally sensible of their dependence on him for sanctification? Are sinners under the gospel placed upon their fancied independence in respect to their moral character, or upon their natural ability, or their moral discernment, or their desperate efforts, or motives, or means for sanctification? They are called and bound to rely for holiness, as well as happiness, on the Almighty power of God and the exceeding riches of his grace. And they are bound by the vengeance as well as the mercy of God, by the government as well as the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the wisdom as well as the grace of the Holy Spirit, to repent and believe the gospel and become holy. It is in view of their obligation to be holy, according to the gospel, in connection with their dependence on God for holiness, that his people turn from themselves unto him and perfect holiness in his fear. In exact proportion to their sight and sense of their dependence on God for sanctification, is their sight and sense of their obligation to sanctify themselves. This statement is not founded on any philosophical theory, or metaphysical speculation. It is founded on the true nature and real relations of God and man. It agrees with the whole system of natural and revealed religion. And it is illustrated and confirmed by the uniform, rational and scriptural experience of the true Church and children of God in all

ages and nations. 2. Human dependence upon God for sanctification is the foundation on which he requires his people to sanctify themselves. In view of his sovereignty and his pleasure and purpose respecting his people God says, “ Circumcise

6 therefore, the foreskin of your heart and be no more stiff-necked.” He also

says, “ The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." Again, “ Make you a new heart and a new spirit;" and " a new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you.” God requires his people to be holy and he declares that they shall be holy; to repent and declares they shall repent ; to believe and declares that faith is his gift; to live and says they shall live. The connection between his sovereignty and their dependence is the foundation on which he establishes his requirements respecting their sanctification. Their sanctification consists in the voluntary exercise of holy affections, in view of proper objects and motives, under his supreme agency. There is in their dependence upon him for holiness a foundation for his requirements and their obligations. And while he says, “ I am the Lord, who sanctify you," he can also say, on a rational and permanent foundation, “Sanctify yourselves, therefore and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God.”

3. Their dependence upon God for holiness is the only foundation of their confidence respecting their sąnctifi

[ocr errors]

cation. Who can trust in himself for holiness?

66 The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it ?” Who can trust in means and motives for renovation and sanctification ? God says, “ Judge I pray you, between me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ?” Of the Savior it is written, “ Though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him." And again, “ Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase.” Why do the people of God pray to him for their sanctification and for the sanctification of their fellow-men, if they are not dependent upon him for holiness ? Divine sovereignty and human dependence in their sanctification is the only rational and scriptural and possible foundation for any confidence in the people of God, that they shall become holy and continue to be so should they be perfectly holy.

4. Their dependence upon God for holiness is the only foundation of their successful exertions to sanctify themselves. If they were not dependent upon him for holiness, they neither would, nor could become holy by his influence. And if they could not become holy by his influence, they could not be holy by any other agency. For holiness can no more exist in his people, without his agency, than all created beings and all events can exist without the agency of God. There is no possible, nor conceivable foundation for the people of God to make any exertions for their sanctification, if they are not dependent upon him for holiness. But their dependence upon God is an immutable and sufficient foundation for his almighty agency and their voluntary and successful exertions in their sanctification. The apostle says, “ I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me." If the people of God believe him when he says, “ Ye shall keep my statutes and do them ; I am the Lord who sanctify you ;" ey may be encouraged and induced to show their faith by their works, when he says, " Sanctify yourselves, therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God.”

The doctrine which has been the subject of our

« FöregåendeFortsätt »